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Killer of Rafiki sentenced to 11 years in prison

Killer of Rafiki sentenced to 11 years in prison”

His body was found on June 2, a day later.

The gorilla - identified as Rafiki, which suggests "mate" in Swahili - was portion of the famed Nkuringo gorilla team that lives in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and is hugely well-known with travellers.

Felix had previously told authorities that he and the three men entered the protected area to hunt small animals when the gorilla attacked him, forcing him to kill it with a spear in self-defense, CNN reported.

A postmortem report revealed that Rafiki was injured by a sharp device to his abdomen and internal organs.

The poacher pleaded guilty to killing the gorilla as well as a bush pig and being in possession of bush pig and antelope meat during a hearing at a magistrate's court in the town of Kabale, the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said in a statement.

This therefore, means he will spend 11 years in jail for all the offences unless he appeals.

Byamukama, a resident of Murole village, Nteko Parish, Nyabwishenya sub-county, Kisoro district was arrested on June 4, 2020 following the death of Rakifi. He was also found in possession of bush pig meat and several hunting equipment.

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Byabakama's co-accused denied the charges and they were remanded to Kisoro Prisons.

Sam Mwandha, govt director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, welcomed the court's selection, declaring, "Rafiki has obtained justice".

"We are relieved that Rafiki has been given justice and this must serve as an case in point to other people who destroy wildlife".

Mr Mwandha further said the new Wildlife Act 2019 is tough and that anyone involved in illegal wildlife activities would face the law.

UWA recently reported that the Nkuringo group in the Southern Sector of Bwindi has stabilized with 12 individuals and 3 infants under the leadership of Rwamutwe the dominant blackback. The gorillas in the forest were said to be habituated to human contact, and Rafiki himself was described as popular among the tourists.

Uganda earns a significant foreign revenue from gorilla tracking.



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